by V.E. Schwab
Published by HarperCollins
Release Date: March 1 2022
Genres: Paranormal, YA
Format Read: ARC, eBook
Buy on Amazon
#1 New York Times–bestselling author Victoria Schwab weaves a dark and original tale about the place where the world meets its shadow, and the young woman beckoned by both sides. The Secret Garden meets Crimson Peak in this stand-alone novel perfect for readers of Holly Black and Neil Gaiman.
Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.
Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.
Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I think VE Schwab is very good at her job.
She writes with such pretty words. It is very easy to forget that you aren’t actually a part of the world she’s built within the pages.
Gallant has a really interesting premise:
A mute girl who was abandoned as a baby at an orphanage, who can see the dead. She has no recollection of her mother or father, only a diary that was left along side her at the orphanage’s door. She has thought that for her entire life, there was no family left on this earth for her. But when a letter arrives inviting her to come to Gallant, “home“, she goes. Upon arriving at her new digs, she is greeted very unenthusiastically by both her cousin, Matthew, and the rest of the staff. She is 100% not wanted there. Everyone is keeping secrets and she can’t communicate effectively (see:mute) and then to top it all off, they have her sleeping in her dead mom’s bedroom. Creepy.
Basically from there, Olivia starts sneaking around the house, trying to figure out what it is that Matthew is keeping from her. While snooping, she stumbles across planes, she goes to the place where the shadows live, and discovers that she is just as at home in the shadows as she is in the light.
Then you know, things happen from there.
So I DID in fact enjoy this novel, I read it quickly and it wasn’t ever boring.
Gallant was interesting and even a bit chilling at times.
But I did feel like Gallant started in one direction and then took a sharp turn- and continued on in a different one. But not in a “surprise!”, twisty sort of way. It was more of a turn that took us away from something that I as the reader desperately wanted to know more about.
I needed more information about Olivia’s parents! We spent almost 60% of this novel learning about Olivia and her lack of a past. So much emphasis was put on her mother’s diary and the secrets that it held! Literally all Olivia ever wanted was more information about her parents.
But, when it finally felt like we were getting somewhere in with that journal and the secrets that it kept. The entire book became a rescue mission for a character whose name had been mentioned only once. I did NOT like that. The plot began to feel like two different stories that got smooshed into the same novel.
Olivia was an interesting spirited character, (lol get it? Because she sees spirits?)
Matthew was flawed and tortured and I actually would love more backstory for him. Once we learned a bit more about what was plaguing the guy, I started to really love him. His ending was perfect.
The ghouls and shadows were fascinating and the setting Schwab set for us was stunning.
For as much as I like VE Schwabs work, and for as much as this book sounded and was interesting- it did fall somewhat flat for me.
I personally, needed more information, clarification and backstory for many of the characters and the events that happened in this book.
I said it before, but I’ll repeat myself, Gallant contained two stories, but neither were well fleshed out. It’s my professional opinion that this would have made for a fantastic duology.
Emily is a coffee loving, cat snuggling, baby wearing book-a-holic.
After retiring from a decade long career in the hair and make-up industry to stay home with her babies, everyone (meaning Emily’s husband) thought it was high time for her to get a hobby that did not involve her kids. Having always been a voracious reader and devouring books at a breakneck speed, joining the bookish and blogging community seemed like a natural next step. She loves giving recommendations to friends and family and then very gently (and not forcefully at all) asking for their opinions after they complete each chapter.
Her reviews tend to be goofy, a little sweary, on the more impassioned side and maybe sometimes a little self deprecating.
Emily typically enjoys reading almost every genre, including (but not limited to) literary fiction, rom-com, contemporary, LGBTQ+, fantasy, paranormal, dystopian, sci-fi, gothic and dark romance or basically any book that will make her cry.